Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Marija Bulatovic, author of Fantastical: Tales of Bears, Beer and Hemophilia

Born in Yugoslavia in the 1970s, Marija Bulatovic, along with her parents, immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s just ahead of the 1990s Yugoslav wars and the breakup of the country.  An accomplished business professional with years of experience driving enterprise business with Fortune 500 companies, Bulatovic graduated from Colgate University. Marija Bulatovic lives in Seattle with her husband and son.


Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Marija: While I didn’t set out to pursue career as an author, I was moved to do so after the birth of my son.  FANTASTICAL is a legacy to my son, as his birth was the catalyst for the book. 

These stories were born with my son.  Uncertain upon entering a wholly new phase of life, I sought wisdom and enlightenment – and a break from the daily routine of feedings, lack of sleep, and disorientation.  I was in search of something that would lift my spirit, make me laugh, and transport me, if only for a moment, to another, less tangible, place and time. 

While the world in which these stories unfold no longer exists, I still cling to the many lessons it taught me.  Because of my fantastical childhood, I know in my heart that life is much more than a sum of mundane survival activities.  I know that it’s fluid, magical, brimming with love and connection. 

This book was indeed the respite I needed.  It freed my mind to roam the wild landscape of a bygone era and lifted me on the wings of Balkan stardust.  I hope it will do the same for my readers.  My hope is that stories amuse and transport my readers, sustaining them on their journey as they have me on mine. 

Is this your first book?
Marija: Yes, it is.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Marija: I chose to self-publish.  FANTASTICAL is a work of passion and a very personal and dear project to me.  As such, I was interested to personally and deeply become involved in all aspects of publishing, from identifying the right experts to edit, illustrate, layout, and print the book to working with a tremendously talented publicist to bring it to light. 
At the same time, we are experiencing an explosion in tools and services suited for first time and self-publishing authors. 
I was curious about this process and it gave me an excellent opportunity to be personally engaged throughout the journey and understands all aspects of publishing. It’s been a great learning experience!
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Marija: Self-publishing is tremendously labor and time intensive, but also very rewarding and profitable, assuming one is able to make investments to get the book to the finish line.
The pros are that you, as an author are 100% in control of your book and the every aspect of it.  You are the final decision maker and owner of the outcomes-good and bad. It’s a wonderful opportunity to merge one’s creative talents with flawless execution.  It does require much self-discipline and hard work, but it’s also a rewarding process.  While the world of self-publishing tools and services can feel like a maze, once the author understands them, they are generally easy and efficient to you.
The cons are that you have to invest money, time and energy to personally research and identify everything that shapes the book: editors, publicists, designers, printers, distributors, etc.  This is no easy task and authors can feel discouraged by it and by the long road ahead.  The self-publish path also requires that you make personal investments or raise money to fund your book project-which done right, is not an inexpensive proposition. 
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Marija: The publishing industry overall is at an inflection point, destabilized by the explosion of self-published books and outlets offering self-publishing services.  Self-publishing houses such as CreateSpace, Lightning Source or Bookbaby offer quality services at an approachable price-point.  However, the learning curve is steep for a single author to learn, discern differences in offerings and advantages among these services, along with their complementary or duplicative nature.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Marija: Yes, most definitely.  If you feel ready and passionate about your book, you will enjoy the leanrings and the process that goes with self-publishing.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Marija: Just do it! Write your book, engage deeply with your project, commit to your work of passion and see what happens.  Most likely, more good things will happen than if you don’t embark on the journey.  And most importantly, Good Luck!



Sunday, January 18, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Linda DeFruscio, author of 'Cornered: Dr. Richard J. Sharpe As I Knew Him'

Linda DeFruscio is the founder and president of A & A Laser, Electrolysis & Skin Care Associates in Newtonville, MA. In addition to Cornered, her memoir about her friendship with Richard Sharpe, she is currently writing a book on skin care and completing a book of profiles based on interviews with transgender people, many of whom are her clients. While Cornered is her first book, her skin care articles have been published in magazines for years. Connect with the author on Facebook and via her website.

About the Book
In the year 2000, Linda DeFruscio was forced to make an unthinkable decision. Someone whose genius she admired immensely, a business associate and dear friend, committed a terrible crime. In response, she could cut off their friendship and avoid the risk of losing friends, clients and her own peace of mind—or, she could trust her gut and try to save some aspect of her friend’s humanity.
Cornered is Linda DeFruscio’s story of her long and often complex association with Dr. Richard J. Sharpe, the millionaire dermatologist from Gloucester, MA who was convicted of killing his wife. Beautifully written and surprisingly tender, Corneredallows the reader an upfront view of the fragility of genius and the decline into madness, all while casting a second light on how one woman’s refusal to turn her back resulted in momentous changes in her own life.
Find out more on Amazon.

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: I am an electrologist (someone who removes unwanted hair from clients’ bodies) and an aesthetician (someone who helps clients enhance their skin and features so that they can be their most beautiful selves). Over the course of my 35-year career, I have written many articles on skin care and other aesthetic matters for various magazines. So, when I lived through a unique and challenging decade-long experience that I knew would make for a really great book, I already had some writing skills. And because I am detail oriented by nature, I also had lots of notes. Getting started was not that difficult for me. I had my ducks in a row, so to speak.
Is this your first book?
Author: Yes, but I am currently working on two others. One will be about skin care and the other, which is nearly done, is a compilation of profiles of transgender people. So many of my clients are transgender people, and some of them were anxious to tell me their stories so they could share their experience with readers. I’m very excited about this project. It is a true labor of love, for me as well as for the people who appear in it.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: Because I have my own business and work long hours, I didn’t have the time or inclination to self publish. I had one of my associates contact some publishers and three of them responded with offers of contracts. I looked them over and decided that Twilight Times Books was the best fit for me.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: The journey is a long one once you decide to go with a traditional press. It took almost a year from the time my book was accepted at Twilight Times to see it out in print (and in online stores). But in that time it went through a couple of edits with really good editors who gave me a lot of advice for improvements as well as line edits, a variety of cover art options, etc., and now the publisher is sending it out to various reviewers on my behalf. So it is time well spent.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: I learned that there are too many people writing and not enough reading. It’s a challenge to get published by a traditional publisher. I’m sure self publishing is easier if you have the time to learn the ropes. But I think it’s also harder in the sense that many readers and reviewers make assumptions about self-published books and don’t give them the chance most of them deserve.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: If you’re in a hurry, self publish. If you have the time, explore other options. Writing can be a very lonely process. When you work with a publisher you suddenly have a team of people who care about the success of your book almost as much as you do.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Don’t give up. Go after your dream. Persevere. The rewards for me have been huge, even though the book is barely out at this time. Not only did I accomplish what I set out to do, but in the process I discovered answers to questions that had plagued me for years.    



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Harris Kern, Author of 'Going From Undisciplined to Self-Mastery: Five Simple Steps to Get You There'

Harris Kern is recognized as the foremost authority on providing practical guidance for solving management issues and challenges. He has devoted over 30 years helping professionals build competitive organizations. His client list reads like a who’s who of American and International Business. His client list includes Standard and Poor’s, GE, The Weather Channel, NEWS Corporation, Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminal (HACTL), among hundreds of other Fortune500 and Global 2000 companies. He pioneered theDiscipline Mentoring Program and Professional/Personal Growth Program (P²GP)and is the author of over 40 books, including his latest, Going From Undisciplined to Self-Mastery.

Learn more: Website Amazon

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: I've been writing books for over 20 years and have a passion to help people become more efficient and productive by learning how to be more disciplined.
Is this your first book?
Author: No. I have written over 40 books - too many to list below. Most are posted on www.harriskern.com.
Did you self publish or go the traditional route?
Author: I published in a traditional manner with Koehler Books.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: I started working with Prentice hall/Pearson in 1994. It was an incredible experience although, frustrating at times because like most large publishing houses they are slow and bureaucratic. On the flip side they do an awesome job producing a quality book in the end.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: You need to have a lot of patience - they don't move quickly. They have no sense of urgency at all.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Yes. The traditional publishing method is the best way to go.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Patience and perseverance. The publishing business works very slow - even after you finish writing your book prepare to wait a few years to actually see your book in print. It takes time to find the right agent who is interested in your work, then for them to trya and sell your work to a publisher.



Sunday, December 28, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Greg Byrne

Greg Byrne is an English teacher, grammar consultant, and lecturer. He enjoys exploring places, ideas, history, languages and science, dinners with friends, watching his family grow, and living life’s great adventure. His next projects are a young adult thriller with a twist, developing a grammar teaching system for schools, and writing a grammar text for ESL students. He lives in Perth, Western Australia, with his beloved wife and family and an overweight British Blue.
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Greg: I really had no choice about being an author since both my parents were either writers or lovers of books. As a result, words, stories, languages and books were hardwired into my DNA from conception. I really had no other choice. I also had no choice with Nine Planets. It ambushed me quite amazingly (I was deep in another set of novels at the time, one I abandoned immediately and have never gone back to!) and so I felt unshakeably compelled to write the story of Nine Planets. There was never any question about choice. I had to.
Is this your first book?
Greg: No, my fourth. The first three were high fantasy epics, the ones I abandoned, although I may go back to them later.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Greg: With small press, and I must say that it is quite delightful to be on first name terms with the publisher himself and to have quite some say in proceedings, in design, editing and other matters. There are certainly trade-offs; larger presses can generate larger publicity and volumes but there are also the less pleasant stories of authors and large presses parting ways. I’m happy where I am. Getting out and talking to bookstore owners has been a valuable part of the publicity process, one I have really enjoyed, and one I may not have experienced so much with a larger house with more publicity power.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Greg: I was so convinced by the merits of Nine Planets that I took it along the agent route first, convinced that someone was bound to see what a fantastic book it was. When none did, I gave up for a year or so until a friend and fellow author got published by Dragonwell and recommended I approach them. I sent off the ms and waited, and was amazed and shocked some months later when they sent an email saying they wanted to publish.
Agents are wonderful people who can do a lot but getting one is HARD and often luck plays a huge part. I had an agent briefly who was starting his list at the same time as I was querying, but he fell ill and the relationship ended. After that, I tried for years to get another one without success. I briefly toyed with the idea of self-publishing and I know some folks who have gone down that road with success, but those in the publishing game I have spoken to, more often than not, treat self-published books with less enthusiasm.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Greg: Be prepared to work hard. Don’t assume the publisher will do it all. Get involved with every aspect. Find out how the publishing process works: the editing, contractual arrangements, publicity, pricing, printing, binding, formats, ISBNs, paper stock, fonts . . . the list goes on but the author needs to know every part of it.
The other critical factor of the publishing process is the title, cover design, spine and the production quality of a book. When I go into a bookstore to look for something to read, these aspects of a book strike me first. If these aren’t attractive, the chances are that I won’t even open the book to look at the first five pages.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Greg: Absolutely! Getting involved with the publishing process is really important as I’ve outlined above.  
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Greg: I’ve often heard it said that you only have to keep trying to get successful, particularly with the publishing game. People who say this often quote the JK Rowling story and her long journey where she was rejected many times before Bloomsbury took it on. If she could do it after so much rejection, so can you, aspiring authors are often told.
Could I add to that equation the other quite important parts of (i) a fine story that demands to be told and (ii) the ability to write it. Without these two, all the persistence in the world won’t be of any use, regardless of who you are. So my advice is this, in point form.
  • Get into a writing community. My best ever step in my writing journey was joining the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. Google it. If you write in a different genre, there’s bound to be an online or face to face writing community that you can join.
  • Share your story with other writers.
  • Ask for honest feedback.
  • Read voraciously, all the while comparing your own story to the best there is in the current market.
  • Review the work of others and ask for reviews of your own.
  • Accept justifiable criticism.
  • Be honest with yourself. Writing for some is an unpaid hobby, for some a passion, and for others a passion with an income attached. Which one are you?


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Jonathan L. Ferrara, Author of 'The Blackwell Family Secret: The Guardians of Sin'

Jonathan L. Ferrara was born in San Pedro, California to an Italian fisherman and a mother from New York. Growing up with one older brother, Jonathan had several hobbies: finding the best hiding spots to jump out and scare his mother, discovering new fantasy book series, and imagining outrageous, whimsical worlds full of magic. He is now happily married, residing in California in the City of Angels. He has two wonderful children-his dog Koda and cat Merlin. Visit his WEBSITE

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Jonathan L. Ferrara: I don’t really think I chose to be an author. I feel like it chose me. I didn’t wake up one day and say, “That would be a cool job. I’ll do that.” I had a story in my head that was filled with characters. It was like a movie playing in my head. I dreamed about them, asleep and awake. Those characters were the ones who wanted to breathe and they chose me to do that. I couldn’t ignore it and I never wanted to.
Is this your first book?
Jonathan L. Ferrara: It is!
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Jonathan L. Ferrara: I went with Dragonwell Publishing, an independent publisher. I came across their website entirely by mistake. I was actually looking for a literary agent and instead came across Dragonwell. Their website was filled with fantasy novels that I would have surely picked up in a bookstore without hesitation. I could easily see The Blackwell Family Secret fit right in with their roster.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Jonathan L. Ferrara: The best way to describe finding the right publisher for you book, especially as a first time author, is learning the industry. You need to learn the ins and outs of publishing and really understand that it’s a business. When I started looking at it this way was when I got interest. My journey was studying the publishing world.  
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Jonathan L. Ferrara: Like I mentioned, it’s a business. Nobody is going to invest in you unless you can sell it to them. I had to think not as a writer who wrote a story, but as a salesmen who was going to market this book.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Jonathan L. Ferrara: Of course. For first time authors I would urge to search for an independent publisher.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Jonathan L. Ferrara: You wrote a book and that truly is an amazing accomplishment. Now it’s time to learn the industry. Find strategies to market your book, and find a publisher who shares your same vision or cater to theirs. Understand completely how your book can be profitable.   
/////////////////////////////
blackwell
The Blackwell Family Secret:
THE GUARDIANS OF SINS
by Jonathan L. Ferrara
URBAN FANTASY, Young Adult
224 pages
Publication date: December 5, 2014
Publisher: Dragonwell Publishing
www.dragonwellpublishing.com / AMAZON
Nicholas Blackwell has no idea he is supposed to fulfill a destiny. All he knows is that he draws trouble like a magnet. Orphaned at eleven when two demonic men killed his parents, he copes with the strict rules of his new home, St. Christopher’s academy, unaware that he has been the real target for the killers and that his guardian angel has saved him in the nick of time. And now, his problems are only beginning when a mysterious serpent lures him into the woods and tricks him into a demonic ritual that will unleash the Seven Deadly Sins to destroy the humankind. Nicholas has no choice but to correct his mistake–or die trying. Aided by Amy, a shy but determined girl who seems to know more about his task than she should, Nicholas’s quest is to travel into the City of Demonio and defeat the Seven Guardians of Sin. To succeed, he must confront demons, monsters, and lost souls, learn the mysteries of the Chapel of Dreams, discover the true meaning of friendship and love, and face the darkest secret of all: the Blackwell Family Secret.
“The Blackwell Family Secret: the Guardians of Sin” is a debut young adult urban fantasy adventure with a Christian theme.




Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer is the author of several novels, including The Chocolatier’s Wife and the short story collection Wishes and Sorrows.  She loves mixing fantasy, mystery and romance and playing with the old stories.  When not writing she can be found reading, teaching people historical fencing, and costuming. 

Connect with Cindy on the Web:


Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author:  This book is actually the work of many years, because it collects short stories from the past decade or so.  I write longer works, but short stories have a special place in my heart.  Some stories are simply not novel shaped, they don’t have all the narrative strands – and I love that, I love the hard focus on one aspect of a story.  So, whenever I get one of these stories in my head, I write them down and polish them in between bigger projects.
Is this your first book?
Author:  No, it’s my fourth.  Your readers are more likely to know me from The Chocolatier’s Wife, which is also published through Dragonwell.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author:  I choose this publisher originally because my previous publisher had gone out of business, and another author (Ania Kashina, an awesome fellow author) from my old press was already going to be published by Dragonwell.  She suggested I consider them, and they have treated me amazingly. 
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author:  I started out my journey looking at the traditional manner of publishing…trying to get an agent, trying to get into one of the big companies.  The fact is, that is the route a lot of people are going.  It is extremely hard to get in because it is extremely easy for the traditional publishers to say no.  That might sound like sour grapes, but if you look at the reviews for The Chocolatier’s Wife, I can assure you that it’s not that I was not good enough for the big places…but I was just one of a billion untried voices.  Now I have settled in with two publishers…Dragonwell and Zumaya.  I get fair royalties, and great editing…and my covers are awesome.  So, my advice, always, is, if you desperately want to publish with a huge publisher go ahead and try.  Half of being an author is being lucky.  Get it out of your system.  If you get lucky…woo!  If not, then start looking at smaller presses.  What you want to look for is the quality of the finished book…are the covers professional looking?  Do people complain a lot about the editing?  Because at the end of the day, no matter who you sign with, a lot of the work is going to be yours.  You need something…I hate to say this, but a product…you can stand behind and sell to people with conviction.  Something that looks good and is quality.  Also, you can actually build a back list with a small press…that is almost impossible with larger ones.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author:  I learned, really, that a huge chunk of your success is based on hard luck and work…talent comes in, certainly, but you have to be willing to put in the time and really keep at it. 
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author:  Certainly.  Small presses give you some support, and better royalties…I think you have a much better chance building a career with a smaller press.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author:  Someone out there loves your book.  Don’t give up or think it’s impossible…keep looking for opportunities and be ready to jump on them. 



Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with James Ryan Daley, author of 'Jesus Jackson'

James Ryan Daley is a writer, editor, and digital designer. After earning an MFA in fiction at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2004, James has spent most of the years since then teaching writing to college students, creating websites, and editing anthologies of fiction and political rhetoric. He lives in Newport, RI with his wife and two daughters.

Purchase his book, JESUS JACKSON, on Amazon

Questionnaire:

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: The main reason I became an author is because I'm far too distractable to sit in an office all day. As far as my reasons for writing Jesus Jackson are concerned, I think it really came out of my love of mysteries, and my long-time interest in the ways that people make sense of their lives.
Is this your first book?
Author: Yes.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: My books is being published by The Poisoned Pencil, the new Young Adult imprint of Poisoned Pen Press. PPP is a small press, but they have a long-standing reputation for publishing high-quality, intelligent mysteries. I couldn’t be happier. 
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author:  For me, one of the biggest and most important parts of the publishing process was coming to an understanding of the Young Adult genre. I didn't really think of Jesus Jackson as a YA title until after I started looking for an agent, and was encouraged to pitch it that way.  I quickly came to see what a good fit Jesus Jackson could be for YA, but it took a little revision (and a lot of reading) to make it happen.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: You have to have patience--a lot of patience. Nothing moves particularly fast in book publishing, but it when it goes slow, it goes really really slow.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Definitely.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Author: My advice is to focus all of your energy on writing a book that you would want to buy, read, and recommend to your friends.  Don’t worry so much about how you’ll get it published. By far, the single most effective thing you can do to improve your chances at getting a book deal is to write a better book.